Jake Shields has faced some rather stiff competition in his mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting career, including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, Dan Henderson and Jake Ellenberger, just to name a few.
But the jiu-jitsu ace has yet to face a man who can match the slick submission game he possesses once the fight hits the ground.
That will all change when he meets perhaps the most decorated jiu-jitsu player in the 170-pound division, Demian Maia, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 29 on Oct. 9, 2013 in Barueri, Brazil, which will air on FOX Sports 1.
And if you think Shields is scared to hit the ground against the 4th degree black belt and multiple Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) medalist, you've got another thing coming.
The Cesar Gracie-trained fighter says he actually prefers to have the fight go to the ground, despite the
"fear" respect he has for Maia's submission skills.
Jake explains to FOX Sports:
"I would prefer the fight to go on the ground. I think we're the two best jiu-jitsu guys at 170. I'm not against standing with him a little bit, but I think not going to the ground would be a little stupid. I definitely want to fight him on the ground. He is really, really dangerous on the ground. This is the only fight where I've feared the guy on the ground. Not really feared, but respected, because if I make a mistake he can submit me. Anything can happen, and anyone could catch me, but it's so unlikely that it's never really in the back of my head. This guy is a different story. He's got submissions that are actually dangerous. One little mistake and he can tap you out."
Since losing to Ellenberger in 2011, Shields has reeled off two straight victories inside the Octagon with one no-contest (NC) against Ed Herman sandwiched in between.
Maia, meanwhile, is on a three-fight win streak since making the drop down to 170 pounds, which includes victories over Jon Fitch, Rick Story and Dong Hyun Kim. His last loss was to current UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman at UFC on FOX 2.
The match-up promises to be a grappler's dream between two men who have never been forced to tap out. And Shields, for one, says the perfect fight for him would be a submission win in front of what's sure to be a raucous Brazilian crowd rooting for the hometown favorite.
Does he have what it takes to pull it off?